NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Once again, the Vice President of the New Brunswick City Council has acended to become the President of the council, as first-term Councilwoman Rebecca Escobar earned the support of her peers to assume the powerful position.
Typically, the president of the council recognizes speakers and controls the conversation, doing most of the talking for the five-member council. Presidents serve a two-year term, so Escobar will likely be in the driver’s seat through 2014.
Escobar was selected to serve as Vice President immediately after taking office in January 2011, and filled in for former Council President Robert Recine at two meetings in 2012.
“I think we’re all going to do a good thing for the City of New Brunswick because… we all love the City of New Brunswick,” he said.
The council also decided which councilmembers will serve as liasons to other government entities, and made numerous appointments to the city’s boards and commissions.
Escobar will represent the council to the New Brunswick Housing Authority and New Brunswick City Market.
Egan was chosen to be the liason between the council and the New Brunswick Parking Authority, whose board he served on before joining the council.
Councilman Glenn Fleming was appointed as the liason to the city’s Board of Education and Citizens Recreation Commission.
John Anderson, a newcomer to the council who was sworn into elected office for the first time at the meeting, will be the council’s liason to the Human Relations Commission, a largely dormant body that does not regularly meet.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Garlatti, the most senior member of the council was given the most powerful assignment by her peers. She will serve not as a liason, but instead as the council’s sole voting member of the Planning Board.
Her husband Lou, who held the Bible under her hand as she took the oath of office, was also re-appointed to serve for another five-year term on the Parking Authority board.
Below are Rebecca Escobar’s remarks after being voted president of the council:
I am really thankful and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Council President.
Two weeks ago, we had some visitors from Turkey and they were asking about, you know, as Council members what is our job, our role, and so forth. And I know that–How long have you been in the city? I recall Mrs. Garlatti saying that she comes from a family of political people that had been working for the city for many many years, serving the City of New Brunswick. Mr. Recine and Mr. Fleming who have been here also, those are families that have been in New Brunswick for many many many years.
I was not born in New Brunswick, I was not raised in New Brunswick. But I do love New Brunswick. This is my city.
I might not come from a political family or somebody that was here for many many years, but I do love New Brunswick. I do love what the city has become.
I’m looking forward to working with the council in making–facing challenges, because I know that we will have new challenges.
But I’m excited that there’s a lot of new people here and we have somebody who have the experience to also balance what is it that we need to do as councilmembers here in the city.
And I know that I’m excited about that. Because when we have new ways of doing things, new ways of looking at what we have ahead of us, always keeping in mind that our first priority is the City of New Brunswick and its residents.
So very happy to be here. Thank you.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.